In and Around Kusadasi
Updated: Aug 7
In this post, we're relaxing in Kusadasi while exploring nearby locations. Some of the highlights of the area include Ancient Ephesus, where the temple of Artemis, one of the "seven wonders of the ancient world," once stood. Virgin Mary's house, where she spent her last days in hiding and Sirince, a quaint village full of character and wine. We recommended spending three days in this area to fully see, taste, and enjoy everything it has to offer!
Choosing a spot to camp out while visiting nearby towns and ruins on the coast of the Aegean Sea can be challenging; there are so many options! We chose Kusadasi, located in the Turkish Riviera, due to a resort next to the sea we wanted to visit. Heads up, though, this area can be a bit touristy during summer since Kusadasi is a harbor town (one of the most popular Mediterranean cruise ship ports). Here are a few other options if Kusadasi is not checking your box. Izmir, more of a metropolitan city vibe. Still the third most populous city in Turkey, so if you're looking to stay away from the crowds, I would skip this one. Selcuk, ancient city vibes, more relaxed and chill town. Bodrum, part of the Turkish Riviera this town is situated on one of Turkey's best diving spots. You can also find great beaches, perfect for nature lovers! Marmaris, also part of the Turkish Riviera; this beach town offers more nightlife, bars, open-air clubs, and music venues.
Did you know the Turkish Riviera "Turquoise Coast" is regarded through history as the home of scholars, saints, warriors, kings, and heroes? From Cleopatra to the Virgin Mary found this gem of a coast irresistible due to its pleasant weather, sea, scenery, and beautiful beaches.
Where to Stay:
Korumar Hotel -- was one of our favorite hotel stays while traveling through Turkey. It's simply stunning! Offering magical sunset views, pools, an onsite Turkish bath and spa, a human-made beach, and an entrance to the Aegean Sea itself to jump for a swim and venture off!
Things to do in Kusadasi:
Enjoy the Open Aegean Sea and make a day out of it!
Relax with some cocktails by the pool and enjoy an epic sunset.
Take an evening stroll on the seaside promenade and eat some fresh seafood.
Visit the Kusadasi Bazaar for some local shopping.
Leave your resort area and take a car into town, walk around, get lost!
Hire a boat for the day and sail to nearby islands.
Indulge in local cuisine, take your time, and savor all the different flavors.
Stay in and pamper yourself with a hammam "Turkish bath."
Things to know before you go:
This place is enormous, and the sun is blazing. I recommend bringing plenty of sun protection! That includes a hat, sunglasses and of course that SPF!
Bring lots of water!
Wear comfy shoes
This place is always packed! Try arriving right at opening.
The average time spent here is from 2-6hrs depending on how much of a history nerd you are lol. There are audio tours available, which we highly recommend.
Visiting Ephesus-- What an experience! So epic, so much history and beauty! These ruins are awe-inspiring and so well preserved. Here you'll find the Temple of Artemis-- the goddess of the hunt, chastity, childbirth, wild animals, and the wilderness. Originally from Greece, this temple was built to honor Artemis. It's considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Another not to miss spot here is the library of Celsus.
The House of the Virgin Mary
Things to know before you go:
The average time spent here can range from 30min- 2hr depending on crowd and self-isolation time. Don't rush your time here; it's worth going at a slow pace.
Bring proper attire to enter her house; respect your surroundings.
Bring an empty water bottle to fill up with the natural spring water from the original fountain. This water is known to have healing properties.
Bring a piece of paper or cloth and pen to write a message of gratitude or wish you want the Virgin Mary to grant. You'll have time there before you exit, to sit with your thoughts and write. There's a wall at the end where hundreds of travelers and locals alike have placed their asking and also a wishing tree before you enter her home.
Visiting Virgin Mary's House in Mt. Koressos, Turkey -- Probably one of the most peaceful places I've ever visited. Set atop a hill, with magnificent bird-eye views. Getting there is a bit of a trek, but it's so worth it! I can honestly say that when I was planning this visit, I was curious about the location but did not have many expectations. I thought,
"oh, it'll be a cute little place to visit if we have extra time, but let's see, might skip it completely." I'm so glad that was not the case, and we went! Just the drive there set the tone for that morning. Surrounded by nature, green olive trees, mountains, the sound of flowing water and birds neighboring the area. It almost sounded like those white noise soundtracks one might use to sleep, but this one played in real life.
Once you arrive at the entrance to her home, there's Mary's big statue ( probably the fanciest statue you'll encounter in this area, as her actual home was straightforward). There's a wishing tree where visitors from around the world, write down their wish on a piece of cloth or paper and then tie it to the tree. There's also an area in the backyard of her home with a natural spring water station known to be blessed water/ cure illnesses and a wishing wall. You may once again write a wish or dream you might have and hang it there.
The interior of her actual home is very minimalist, a small space with wood accents throughout the room, truly beautiful. Photos inside are not allowed.
This home is known to be where Mary went in hiding and died peaceful.
Have an extra half-day in this area? We recommend visiting Sirince, a quaint village full of character and wine. This village is about a 20min drive from Kusadasi.
Things to do in Sirince:
Shop at Sirince Bazaar for local artisanal products and hand made items.
Pay a visit to the ruins of St. Johns the Baptist Church.
Go wine tasting. Due to lack of time, we didn't get a chance to go. Kaplankaya Winery was highly recommended to us, but the village, in general, has other wine tasting spots. If you visit one, leave a comment. We would love to know your experience/recommendations for next time we're there.
Stock up on some hand made olive oil soaps and lotions. In this area, you get the authentic stuff at a fraction of the price.
Try the local Turkish cuisine. Pick a spot full of happy ppl, where the smell coming out of the kitchen is intoxicating.
Check out my other blogs on Turkey:
"Pamukkale Hot Springs & Hierapolis"
"3 days in Istanbul"